An ideal subject line for your email campaign does 5 jobs in a very short space:
- Grab the recipient’s attention
- Show the main content is worth a read
- Be relevant to that content
- Demonstrate credibility and trustworthiness
- Help spam filters recognise the email as legitimate
That’s a lot to achieve in about half-a-dozen words, no more than 10. Here are some tips on how to go about writing subject lines:
Be concise – obvious I know, but there’s no room for clutter in your subject lines. You need a short and snappy title. Use simple Anglo-Saxon words, active voice, minimal punctuation and reduce prepositional phrases.
Be clear – again, use straightforword language, with simple Anglo-Saxon words and basic sentence structure. Avoid ambiguity or any chance of being misread.
Be focused – don’t try to do too much. If you’re having trouble crystallising the core message of your email into a single sentence… perhaps your campaign needs focus.
Make a point – people are busy, their inboxes are crowded. Your subject line needs to give them a reason to read your email.
Be inventive – inboxes are crowded and your subject lines need to grab attention. Be smart, be unique and think about what makes your recipients tick.
Be relevant – be inventive but make sure that it’s aligned with the actual content and objective of your email. You don’t want to jar your readers or make them feel misled.
Be accurate – typos, mis-spellings and sloppy grammar will immediately destroy your credibility and can make your email look like spam.
Personalise – tailor your subject line to specific segments of your audience and align it with what you know about them.
Create some urgency – time-limited offers can, if used sparingly and with care, lead to increased engagement. Just be very cautious around the wording and don’t bombard your audience with them.
Don’t be spammy – don’t SHOUT IN YOUR SUBJECT LINE with all caps, don’t over-do the high-pressure sell or use phrases like ‘click here’, ‘save money today’ or ‘buy now’.
A lot goes into a well-crafted subject line but they are crucial, especially on mobile devices where there isn’t a preview pane to see eye-grabbing headline images.